Core Books has its roots in a collaboration between Columbia College and Hostos Community College. The goal was to bring CC students into a conversation they are often excluded from through embedding core texts and the issues they raise from the Columbia Core Curriculum into selected required courses. With the support of the Teagle Foundation, Core Books includes 4 CUNY colleges: The Borough of Manhattan Community College, LaGuardia Community College, and New York City College of Technology. This faculty professional development initiative aims to engage students in key humanistic questions while strengthening their reading and writing skills and bolstering student performance related to course learning objectives. At the heart of this initiative is the recognition of the value of a community of practice among both faculty and among students as we create opportunities to think, to learn, and to question together.
At New York City College of Technology, six English Department faculty members developed curriculum for the “Core Books at CUNY” initiative funded by the Teagle Foundation. City Tech faculty participants are integrating excerpts from Plato’s Republic, Sophocles’ Antigone, Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, The Declaration of Independence, and Frederick Douglass’s “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”— along with the curriculum created for the texts—into participating First-Year Writing courses. The materials are available openly via City Tech’s OpenLab (an open-source, digital platform for teaching, learning, and collaboration), and via Blackboard, to support faculty members using the core books in their writing courses.